Quote: Originally Posted by Shutup
On a side note:
Ever notice the ridiculously thick layer of thermal paste on the stock coolers?
I always take it off, and apply one tiny drop of paste that I spread very finely with an old creditcard.
You should almost be able the see through the layer.
A slightly different POV for you...
That "thermal paste" is actually a phase change compound that softens and reflows with heat. It takes a while to settle in perfectly but it does shift it's way around and keep things cool. One of the more common production compounds of this variety is called "Thermstrate TC" and while it does take a few days of slightly higher temperatures it usually settles in within a degree or so of Arctic Silver.
I've been using Thermstrate in service work for quite some time and I find it perfectly adequate. The real nice part of this stuff is that each time the CPU gets over about 60c the compound liquifies and reflows, essentially renewing itself.
The hyper thin layer tactic many use is excellent if
the heatsink and top plate mate perfectly... However, most consumer heatsinks are cut from extrusions or hot cast and the bottoms of them are antying but flat. It does take some thickness of application to ensure there are no air gaps between them. The excess is not usually a problem as it just ends up piled around the edge of the CPU top plate where it actually helps take some extra heat off the sides of the plate.
I've been at this for quite some time and as a rule I recommend phase change materials over pastes but if you are going to use paste, be sure to use more than the "ideal" recommended so that you get some gap filling ability out of it.